Author's note:

Big thanks and hug to my beta-reader Istarnie for her help.


The forge was a large, spacious single-floored building in the vicinity of Elrond's house. In the rear chamber, partially detached from the front of the place by a wall, were the furnaces themselves, the anvils, and the many tools for making armour, swords, daggers and other weapons. In the front chamber there was a large table with several chairs around it. There were also a few glass cabinets and cupboards, while on the shelves attached to one wall, several finished pieces of weaponry and chainmail were laid.

At that particular time, however, the back of the forge was empty, the flames in the largest furnace only smouldering. In the front chamber seven persons had gathered. The two foremost of Rivendell's blacksmiths were standing next to the door leading to the back room; one was holding a long sheathed sword. Before them, stood Elrond, Gandalf, Arwen, Aragorn and his cousin Halbarad. Although all were observing the sword, although they were all aware of the importance of that moment, no one's heart was beating as strongly as Aragorn's.

His gaze was focused upon the sword before him, which was the heirloom of his family for many long centuries; the sword that woke half-forgotten memories and aroused awe. Narsil. Yet the sword that was broken had now been re-forged; the blade that severed the ring from the Dark Lord's hand was now to become his own. Aragorn's face was calm, but in him a torrent of rapturous, mixed feelings was raging. For his whole life – consciously or sub-consciously – he had waited for this moment. And now that it finally arrived, he couldn't hold a quiver, although only briefly. This was no ordinary sword, and taking hold of it was not merely reaching for a weapon. Only the man who was to become the King of Gondor could lay claim to wielding this majestic blade. For him to reach out and touch it, and take it up as his own, would be to take up all the responsibility that awaited him.

I can do it. I am ready. He had never hidden or run away from any of his duties, though many of his deeds and those of the Rangers he led had been done in secret. But now, their leader – Isildur's heir – would finally travel to Gondor openly, carrying with him the sword of Elendil. Aragorn drew a deep breath and raised his head high, ready to meet his destiny.

Elrond was the first to move. He stepped forward, took the sword from the blacksmith, and then slowly turned to face his foster son. Aragorn looked upon the face of the elf, then back again to the precious item that Elrond held in his hands. He could feel Arwen's gaze. Her love and faith in him was his strong support during all these years. But he resolutely directed all his attention towards Elrond and made a step forward. Elrond lifted the sword in front of him, holding it with both hands.

"This sword belongs to you, Aragorn, son of Arathorn", he said solemnly. "Take it and bring it with you to the mission that lies before the Fellowship. Your time has come."

Holding out his hands, Aragorn accepted the sword. For a few moments he stood motionless, aware there was no turning back to the life he had previously known, and then he seized the grip more firmly and unsheathed it. A long, magnificent blade it was, decorated with elvish runes, and seeming as if it gleamed with a lustre of its own. It was his sword, his moment. Aragorn felt respect and pride flowing in him. He held the weapon, testing its weight and balance. It was perfect, lying in his hand as if made for him. And as he thought again on the long history of Narsil, he felt that finally the time had come to move towards events that would change Middle-earth forever – for good or for evil. He nodded with determination and put the sword back in its sheath.

"Though Narsil re-forged, this sword is not Narsil. How will you name it?" Elrond asked.

Aragorn has already given much thought to the matter and he had an answer.

"Anduril", he replied seriously. Looking at the others, he saw their approval. Arwen smiled at him, and he saw pride in her eyes.

"Flame of the West. A proper name, with strong symbolism", Elrond said and nodded.

Aragorn bowed his head slightly in acknowledgement. Before leaving the forge, Gandalf approached him. "This is a great moment", the wizard said in a low voice. "But the real temptations are still ahead of us."

"I know", Aragorn answered earnestly. He was well aware of that. The next day, the Fellowship was to leave Rivendell, the wheels of destiny would start turning, events would begin that could not be stopped. And their actions would bring a new, happier age for the whole of Middle-earth – or cause its fall into utter darkness, should they fail. There was no middle-way.

But the Ranger had become the future King. Now he was ready to face all challenges; ready to defeat all enemies.